Unapologetically Occupying White Dominated Spaces as a Solo Black Woman
I’ve decided that- at age thirty-one, I am going to show up in spaces that don’t traditionally include us (women of color)and just stand there.
If I offend you by just existing in the same space as you then tough nuts. My solitary, plus sized black girl magic will add seasoning to your beige surroundings. And I’ll do so without the cosign of one of my (perfectly lovely) white friends standing beside me to justify my presence.
A new movie comes out at the Lagoon in Uptown? I’m posted up in the center row with a bottle of water and some Sour Patch Kids. A free art exhibit at the Walker Art Center? Yup, that’s me staring at the wall of hand drawn dicks wondering what is wrong with my perception that I can’t see the art in them. But I love the sculpture garden. Every time I pass Katharina Fritsch’s Hahn/Cock sculpture I giggle and make a “big blue cock” joke because- inwardly- I am twelve.
This personal revolution isn’t easy.
My anxiety has me hyperaware of my surroundings. And my depression tells me I shouldn’t be there and I don’t deserve nice things. Also, that I’m black and the only one around for miles. Hello, darkness, my old friend.
My chemically impaired brain says, “Bro, what if they try to get you.” And I’m like, “Who?” And my brain replies in a hushed whisper, “The white people.”
Of course this makes no sense for these moments. At the Walker, I stood next to a perfectly lovely girl with bright yellow hair in a sweater dress and fishnets. She seemed to be getting her life to the simple line drawings of dicks on the wall with no attention paid to me. Her enthusiasm was weird to me but why “yuck” someone else’s “yum”. Girl, if you like it, I love it.
So I do battle with myself in these spaces as a “baby” black feminist. It’s a game of chicken I play with my nerves. And I am winning every time I boldly go where few black folk have been before.
Because, just as it’s important to build our own spaces, we have to have a presence in the down time of white people that isn’t related to serving them food or aiding their general comfort.
This is my personal protest.